Get ready to transport your taste buds to Italy with this mouth-watering tomato and mozzarella bruschetta recipe! Bursting with fresh, vibrant flavours, this appetiser combines ripe tomatoes, creamy buffalo mozzarella, fragrant basil, and crispy, garlicky bread for a symphony of tastes and textures.
About this Recipe
By: Silvana Lanzetta
Bruschetta (pronounced “broo-skeh-ttah”) is the world-famous Italian antipasto that has humble beginnings. Born out of a necessity to avoid wasting stale bread, people from the lower social classes would toast their bread over a fire, flavouring it with garlic, oil, and salt. The name “bruschetta” comes from the Roman/Lazio dialect verb “bruscare,” which means “to toast” or “to burn” – clearly indicating how the slices of bread were prepared.
It was in the 1600s that fresh tomatoes became a popular topping in some Italian regions, such as Apulia. Tomatoes, grown and consumed by local farmers, were added to the toasted bread, creating the appetiser we all know and love today. While the exact origins of bruschetta are lost in time, many believe it was born in a territory between Tuscany and Lazio.
Each region in Italy has its own twist
Tuscany: In the land of the poet Dante Alighieri, bruschetta goes by the name “fettunta,” meaning “greasy slice.” The bread used is Tuscan “sciocco” bread, which is made without salt. The toppings are simple: extra virgin olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Fettunta is often served with typical Tuscan cured meats.
Puglia: Here, bruschetta was a staple for farmers during their long days working in the fields. Apulian bread, such as the famous Altamura bread, is toasted on embers and topped with the region’s exquisite local oil, made by cold pressing olives. Often, it is finished with a topping of Brindisi tomatoes.
Piedmont: Known as “soma d’aj” in this region, the name hints at the dish’s “tasty” nature, meaning “heavy load of garlic.” Be prepared for a burst of garlic flavour when tasting this version!
Calabria: Bruschetta in this region is called “fedda ruscia,” or “toasted slice.” The typical ingredients are simple: tomato, salt, pepper, and oil.
Tomato and Mozzarella Bruschetta recipe is a delicious and healthy appetiser. It is high in carbohydrates, primarily due to the bread, and offers a moderate amount of protein and fat. The cherry tomatoes provide vitamins and antioxidants, while the buffalo mozzarella offers calcium and other nutrients.
- Proteins 16% 16%
- Carbs 57% 57%
- Fats 27% 27%
When it comes to choosing tomatoes for your bruschetta, trust me, flavour is everything! My go-to choice is Vittoria Piccolo cherry tomatoes because they strike the perfect balance between tart and sweet. If you can’t find those, Pomodorino or Sundream tomatoes are also tasty options. And hey, if all else fails, baby plum tomatoes will do the trick!
One piece of advice I’d like to share is to try and get your tomatoes from a farmer’s market instead of a supermarket. This way, you can be sure that your tomatoes have basked in the sun and soaked up all the goodness from the earth, giving you the most delicious and authentic bruschetta experience.
Now, traditional bruschetta doesn’t include mozzarella, but let me tell you, I’m a die-hard mozzarella fan. I can’t help but sneak it into recipes whenever I can! Plus, mozzarella and tomatoes together? That’s a heavenly combo.
For the ultimate bruschetta, you’ll want to use buffalo milk mozzarella. It adds this amazing salty, milky flavour that takes the dish to another level. And the fresher, the better! I have this arrangement with my favourite Italian deli – they give me a heads up when they get a fresh batch of mozzarella, and I head right over to grab some. Maybe you can work out something similar with your local Italian shop!
One crucial tip: let your mozzarella sit at room temperature for a couple of hours before using it. Eating it slightly warm allows all those delicious milky flavours to shine through. My grandmother had this neat trick where she’d warm some water in a small pan and place the mozzarella (still in its bag) in the water for about 10-15 minutes. The results were out of this world!
Extra-virgin olive oil
Don’t skimp on the olive oil! I’ve seen folks make bruschetta and skip the oil in the name of health. But here’s the thing: extra-virgin olive oil is actually a super healthy fat that helps keep you young and strong! Plus, it doesn’t just help your body absorb the lycopene in the tomatoes—it also takes your bruschetta to a whole new level of deliciousness.
Always go for extra-virgin olive oil because it’s packed with vitamin E and essential fats like omega-3 and omega-6. But, fair warning: not all extra-virgin olive oils on the market are created equal. Some are still pretty processed. If you’re wondering how to spot the real deal, I’ve got you covered—check out my article on how to recognize authentic extra-virgin olive oil!
Bread is like the canvas for our tomato and mozzarella bruschetta—it holds everything together. As with all Italian cooking, quality is key. Opt for artisan breads like sourdough ciabatta, peasant bread, or even a French baguette. Or, hey, why not make your own? Whatever you choose, just make sure it’s top-notch.
A little insider tip: use bread that’s a day or two old. Bruschetta is traditionally made with slightly stale bread because it absorbs the topping’s juices without getting too soggy. When toasting, don’t wet the bread beforehand. This way, it can soak up those delicious juices better. After toasting, gently rub garlic on just one side, and add the topping right before serving.
Garlic is the secret ingredient that gives bruschetta that irresistible spicy kick. But be cautious—you don’t want to go overboard! In this recipe, I use 2 cloves, which comes out to about half a clove per person. That’s plenty of garlic, trust me. Any more, and it might just steal the show.
Think of your bruschetta like a symphony, where each ingredient works together to create a harmonious flavour. Garlic is like the drums: powerful and essential, but too much can spoil the whole performance. So, use it wisely and let all the flavours sing together in perfect harmony!
Basil has a special place in my heart—I absolutely adore it! Just a whiff of its aroma instantly transports me to Italy. I have fond memories of my mom’s huge basil pot on our kitchen terrace. On warm summer evenings, as we ate outside, the soothing scent would fill the air.
Sadly, I didn’t inherit my mom’s green thumb, so I rely on store-bought basil. But here’s a little secret I learned for using basil in raw dishes like our tomato and mozzarella bruschetta: be picky with your leaves. Look for the greenest, firmest, and least bruised ones in the bunch. And instead of chopping them with a knife, simply tear them apart with your fingers and sprinkle them over your bruschetta. Trust me, it makes a world of difference in flavour!